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Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future Hardcover – May 5, 2015
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A careful and courageous examination of automation and its possible impact on society.”
In Rise of the Robots, Ford coolly and clearly considers what work is under threat from automation.”
Makes clear the need to come to grips with ever more rapidly advancing technology and its effects on how people make a living and how the economy functions.”
Of all the moderns who have written on automation and rising joblessness, Martin Ford is the original. His Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future is due out this May.... Self-recommending.”
Robots, and their like, are on the rise. Their impact will be an important question in the next decade and beyond. Martin Ford has been thinking in this area before most others, so this book deserves very careful consideration.”
Lawrence Summers, President Emeritus and Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University
Mr. Ford lucidly sets out myriad examples of how focused applications of versatile machines (coupled with human helpers where necessary) could displace or de-skill many jobs His answer to a sharp decline in employment is a guaranteed basic income, a safety net that he suggests would both cushion the effect on the newly unemployable and encourage entrepreneurship among those creative enough to make a new way for themselves. This is a drastic prescription for the ills of modern industrializationills whose severity and very existence are hotly contested. Rise of the Robots provides a compelling case that they are real, even if its more dire predictions are harder to accept.”
Wall Street Journal
Well-researched and disturbingly persuasive.”
[Rise of the Robots is]about as scary as the title suggests. It's not science fiction, but rather a vision (almost) of economic Armageddon.”
Frank Bruni, New York Times
As Martin Ford documents in Rise of the Robots, the job-eating maw of technology now threatens even the nimblest and most expensively educated...the human consequences of robotization are already upon us, and skillfully chronicled here."
New York Times Book Review
Martin Ford has thrust himself into the center of the debate over AI, big data, and the future of the economy with a shrewd look at the forces shaping our lives and work. As an entrepreneur pioneering many of the trends he uncovers, he speaks with special credibility, insight, and verve. Business people, policy makers, and professionals of all sorts should read this book right awaybefore the 'bots steal their jobs. Ford gives us a roadmap to the future.”
Kenneth Cukier, Data Editor for the Economist and co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think
If the robots are coming for my job (too), then Martin Ford is the person I want on my side, not to fend them off but to construct a better world where we can allhumans and our machineslive more prosperously together. Rise of the Robots goes far beyond the usual fear-mongering punditry to suggest an action plan for a better future.”
Cathy N. Davidson, Distinguished Professor and Director, The Futures Initiative, The Graduate Center, CUNY and author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn
It's not easy to accept, but it's true. Education and hard work will no longer guarantee success for huge numbers of people as technology advances. The time for denial is over. Now it's time to consider solutions and there are very few proposals on the table. Rise of the Robots presents one idea, the basic income model, with clarity and force. No one who cares about the future of human dignity can afford to skip this book.”
Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget and Who Owns the Future?
Ever since the Luddites, pessimists have believed that technology would destroy jobs. So far they have been wrong. Martin Ford shows with great clarity why today's automated technology will be much more destructive of jobs than previous technological innovation. This is a book that everyone concerned with the future of work must read.”
Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick, co-author of How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life and author of the three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes
Compelling and well-written In his conception, the answer is a combination of short-term policies and longer-term initiatives, one of which is a radical idea that may gain some purchase among gloomier techno-profits: a guaranteed income for all citizens. If that stirs up controversy, that's the point. The book is both lucid and bold, and certainly a starting point for robust debate about the future of all workers in an age of advancing robotics and looming artificial intelligence systems.”
An alarming new book.”
A thorough look at how far machines have come”
Washington Post, Innovations blog
Ford tells great stories, both about innovation in the last 50 years and about the potential impacts of widespread automation of work in the future Rise of the Robots is a competent, approachable, and well-written synthesis of information across many area, and provides a valuable, coherent picture of automation's socio-economic interactions.”
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
Ford offers ideas on changes in social policies, including guaranteed income, to keep our economy humming and prepare ourselves for a more automated future.”
Whether you agree or not with the policy prescriptions put forward by [Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots and Anne-Marie Slaughter's Unfinished Business] these two well-written books, and quite a few will likely disagree, they are important reads for those wishing to better understand and influence the future.”
Bloomberg Business, Mohamed El-Erian
Few captured the mood as well as Martin Ford in The Rise of the Robots, the winner of the FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, which painted a bleak picture of the upheavals that would come as ever-greater numbers of even highly skilled workers were displaced by machines.”
[A] breathtaking new book on modern economics.”
Lucid, comprehensive and unafraid to grapple fairly with those who dispute Ford's basic thesis, Rise of the Robots is an indispensable contribution to a long-running argument.”
Los Angeles Times
If The Second Machine Age was last year's tech-economy title of choice, this book may be 2015's equivalent.”
Financial Times, Summer books 2015, Business, Andrew Hill
A New York Times Bestseller
Top Business Book of 2015 at Forbes
One of NBCNews.com 12 Notable Science and Technology Books of 2015
For nonfiction, I tip my hat to Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots, which is vacuuming up accolades and is recommended reading for IIF staff. Ford's analysis, in a somewhat crowded field of similar books, offers a sobering assessment of how technology (robotics, machine learning, AI, etc.) is reshaping labor markets, the composition of growth, and the distribution of income and wealth, and calls for enlightened political and policy leadership to address coming, accelerating disruptions and dislocations.”
Bloomberg Business, Timothy Adams
We are in an era of technological optimism but sociological pessimism. Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots captures why these shifts are related and what challenges this might pose to our conventional economic and social infrastructures.”
Bloomberg Business, Andy Haldane
[Ford's] a careful and thoughtful writer who relies on ample evidence, clear reasoning, and lucid economic analysis. In other words, it's entirely possible that he's right.”
Rise of the Robots is an excellent book. Fair-minded, balanced, well-researched, and fully thought through.”
Inside Higher Ed, Learn blog
Surveying all the fields now being affected by automation, Ford makes a compelling case that this is an historic disruptiona fundamental shift from most tasks being performed by humans to one where most tasks are done by machines.”
Well written with interesting stories about both business and technology.”
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Top customer reviews
"When the automobile was invented it DID destroy many jobs. Makers of buggy whips and horse troughs were put out of business. But many more NEW jobs were created to replace those older jobs. Witness all the gas stations, auto mechanic shops, car factories, etc."
About 8 years ago I lost faith in the buggy whip argument. I realized that, as the technology of AI advanced, a point would be reached in which intelligent software and general-purpose robots could perform all tasks (both mental and physical) that are currently achievable only by highly educated humans. Once one intelligent robot exists with a high level of general intelligence, it can be mass produced. There have been many advances in AI in recent years (in neural networks, planning and learning systems). Machine learning systems can now learn a number of complex cognitive tasks simply by observing the past performance of human experts.
I have always been an admirer of the combination of modern capitalism and (relatively) free markets as the major drivers of wealth. However, modern capitalism (with its corporations, stock and dividends) is less than a few centuries old. There is no reason to believe that it must last forever. Its "reign" over older economic systems may well end abruptly in the near future.
At one time I toyed with writing a book about my concerns regarding intelligent automation and its future effect on political and economic systems but Martin Ford has a done a 100-times better job that I could have ever done. His book is very persuasive in pointing out why the "buggy whip" argument will cease to remain persuasive.
I only have two complaints about Ford's book: (a) the title sounds a bit too much like a title for a pulp-fiction work and so I fear that not enough people will read it and (b) the first 75 pages consist of a standard summary of current economic facts and principles and so I fear that some readers may quit reading his book before they get to the really interesting parts, which in my opinion, start after page 75.
Humans seem to be sleepwalking into a future regarding which they are largely unprepared. Will we slide into a dystopian techno-neo-feudalism when the jobs largely evaporate across nearly all sectors, including the cognitive arena "knowledge worker" domains thought to be relatively bulletproof? We are all in this together -- much as our narcissistic one-tenth-of-one-percenters like to deny it. "Wealth" is a relative thing, much as they prefer to deny it.
My initial interest in this book (based on an NPR interview I heard) was that of his take on health care (my area -- Health IT), which I will be writing up forthwith. But, the larger problem is equally if not moreso compelling. How will we all "earn our keep" if reliable employment diminishes by half or more, regardless of our skills and initiative? Are we headed for "Elysium"?
Being of recent issue and up-to-date on the rapidly advancing technologies, the book is the best of the lot for what it covers: the economic fallout and possible solutions to near full automation and the loss of most jobs at all levels and surprisingly a large number of the jobs to go first are those jobs that are at middle level and are mostly dealing with repetitive data to which even at this early stage of automation, machines and sophisticated algorithms are far better suited than humans are.
I had only very few and very minor disagreements with the author as to fixes of the problems total unemployment will bring.
None of the books cared to go there because capitalism is a sacred cow and in the U.S. a book touting the need for a socialist distribution system to replace the worker's paycheck-driven system we are now using.
The ship that is capitalism is now taking on water, the holes that are the exponentially developing job-taking technologies in the keel are getting larger and the ship will go down slowly at first and then with a rush as Moore's Law has it's inevitable effect.
OTOH, what all of the books (".. Singularity.." ,Second Machine Age...Abundance, Life At The Speed Of light and "Rise.." stressed heavily right from the first chapter as most important in understanding the progress of technology is in understanding its exponential rather than linear progression.; that the speed of technological change is largely not understood by a very large percentage of the lay public.
Simply put, a great percentage of the public does believe that total automation will happen but not for about 100 years and decidedly not in the unbelievable to them but very real 20 year time frame dictated by Moore's Law .
The best part of this is that we don't have to wait so very long to see who is/was correct about the time frame.
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Complex topic made understandable for the average person.